GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Once again, city leaders said no to a proposed Walmart in downtown Green Bay.
The city's Plan Commission voted 3-2 against rezoning the planned unit development of the Larsen Green site. Commissioners Sidney Bremer, Tim Gilbert and Alderman Jerry Wiezbiskie all voted no, while Tim Duckett and Vice Chair Linda Queoff voted yes.
The vote coincided with the recommendation of Green Bay's planning department, who felt the site in the Broadway District should not be rezoned based on factors like inconsistency with the city's Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Master Plan. They also raised concerns about zoning code requirements for PUDs' and the proposed physical design and development.
Walmart is looking to build a 154,000 square foot Supercenter with more than 600 parking spaces.
"A big box does not fit in there, we have been trying to tell the people that the big box won't fit in there," Wiezbiskie said after the meeting. "To ruin what we've got going on downtown right now would be sacrilege, it would be just horrible."
Most of the speakers during the three-and-a-half hour meetings' public comment period voiced opposition to the plan, citing everything from land value, traffic problems to safety of neighborhood children.
After the vote, Walmart spokesperson Lisa Nelson was brief in her comments.
"Our only thing is we appreciate the plan commission and look forward to going to the city council," said Nelson, who said she wasn't surprised by the outcome.
The city council could still approve the rezoning of the property when it takes the issue up later this month.
Should Walmart leave town following another negative outcome, and the city takes ownership of the property should On Broadway, Inc. have their bank move forward with foreclosure proceedings, is there another option on the table? Wiezbiskie was coy when asked.
"I haven't been privy to that information, but I just have an inkling that's something's gelling, I just don't know," Wiezbiskie said, confirming that he had scheduled a meeting with Mayor Jim Schmitt Tuesday to discuss potential options. However, the east side Alderman said he had to cancel due to an unforeseen out-of-town personal trip.